Dear President Trump,
Seems pretty likely that nearly every girl over the age of 11 and every woman in the US could tell a #MeToo story or five or ten. Fortunately we don’t all have rape stories, though way, way too many of us do. Virtually all of us do have non-fiction stories about some male person or many male persons crossing boundaries verbally or physically or both in our schools, our work places, our homes, on public transport, or all of the above, which doesn’t exactly leave one with a warm, cozy, safe feeling as one tries to navigate the world. Women’s experiences of sexual assault and harassment by men are endemic to our nation’s life and are beyond epidemic proportions (if that’s even possible). The sheer magnitude should be raising the urgency to a “hair on fire” level but we as a country are highly unlikely to treat it that way despite all the millions of women who are telling their non-fiction stories of harassment and assault.
In further unpacking the opportunity side of abusive and misogynistic male behavior I think the very ubiquity of it is enabling. It happens so damn often in so many settings that it’s incredibly ordinary and unless something really horrible happens, it’s barely worth a mention because it makes us sound whiny and uptight if we do and really, it’s not that big a deal anyway. Right. And this is what girls and women convey to each other and it is what gets conveyed to boys and men so there are dozens of layers of silencing and excusing and colluding and undercutting our own sense of reality. It’s like we’ve all gone down the proverbial rabbit’s hole where everyone is trying to convince us that down is up and up is down and it’s really fine that Billy is twisting Sally’s arm behind her back, hard. It’s none of our business anyway. And when something really horrible does happen and a girl or woman dares to tell someone about it she is often not believed or she is essentially put on trial. So most of the time we allow the training in silence and compartmentalization to kick in and we try to “move on”.
Well, this is unacceptable so we need to stay loud and witchy about it.
May we be safe to be in our female bodies.
May we be happy being in our female bodies.
May men have healthy respect for women.
May you step up and apologize for your abusive treatment of women.